The Cowplain School children embrace true meaning of Christmas with festive food campaign

CHILDREN and staff at The Cowplain School have embraced the true meaning of Christmas by making festive food parcels for disadvantaged families in the local community.

By Neil Fatkin
Friday, 27th November 2020, 11:00 am
Updated Friday, 27th November 2020, 3:20 pm
Year 10 pupil Tamzin Browne with headteacher Ian Gates.

The Cowplain Christmas Food campaign will see more than 200 families in the school community eligible for free school meals receive parcels of food along with festive treats, gifts and toys.

The importance of giving has been highlighted with the donation of hundreds of items from children, staff, local businesses and people in the community. Over £600 has also been raised from a non-uniform day with the money used to purchase festive food.

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(left to right) Morrisons community champions Karen Withey and Sara Potten alongside Horndean store manager Jay Todd and the first donation of goods for The Cowplain Christmas Food Appeal.

Assistant headteacher and appeal co-ordinator, Lindsey Everitt, said: ‘One of the school’s key values is kindness and the children were inspired by Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign to do something of their own to help disadvantaged families.

‘We started off by asking for non-perishable goods but the pupils started to bring in selection boxes and gifts. We want to deliver good quality Christmas boxes and while our primary aim is to ensure people don’t go hungry, hopefully the parcels will make a big difference for some families and bring some Christmas cheer at what has been a difficult time.’

Since the onset of the pandemic and the economic impact of reduced furlough wages and redundancies, headteacher Ian Gates has seen an increase in the number of families in need of support.

Mr Gates said: ‘We have certainly seen a rise in the number of families now in receipt of free school meals as a result of the pandemic but there are also families on low incomes who may not qualify but who we would still like to support.’

(right to left) The Cowplain School headteacher, Ian Gates, with learning support assistant Adele Lovett and assistant headteacher Lindsey Everritt, alongside the hundreds of items donated to support families in need this Christmas.

The parcels have been decorated by children at the school who have also attached labels with festive well wishes.

Year 8 pupil Callum De Fano said: ‘I feel privileged for what we have in our family. I want to help in any way I can. Not all people are as lucky as we are and this made me want to donate.’

Tamzin Browne, 14, added: ‘I brought food in because I wanted to help. Some parents have lost jobs over the pandemic and I know this is a really difficult time for them.’

The initiative has been supported by Morrisons Horndean branch as part of the retail outlets national programme to invest £10m to support food provision for local communities. The branch has already donated more than £100 of items to the school with a further £300 of festive stock to be delivered over the next two weeks.

Morrisons Community champion, Sara Potter, said: ‘We wanted to get involved in supporting the local community and after seeing the school’s appeal on their website we thought this was an ideal project.

‘The need for support has increased during the pandemic and the school can identify those families who are struggling and need our help.’

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